PA Business Advocates Say Governor's Budget Still Has Too Many Taxes

Feb 15, 2017

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Even though consolidation was the name of the game in Governor Tom Wolf's proposed budget, it still includes about a billion dollars in new taxes. As such, the proposal has gotten a chilly reception from the commonwealth's business advocates. 

Credit governortomwolf / Flickr

Gene Barr, executive director of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, has concerns about nearly all the governor's proposed revenue increases.

Those include a provision to restructure corporate taxation across state lines, a severance tax on natural gas, and expansion of the sales tax to cover things like custom software, which are largely used by businesses.

"We can't sit here and say, that's a great tax or that's a great approach," Barr said. "I mean all those things are just going to make Pennsylvania less competitive moving forward if we adopt them."

The Wolf administration, in contrast, says these measures would actually close unfair corporate loopholes.

The only scenario in which Barr said he might be amenable to a tax hike is if the revenue is earmarked to refill underfunded pension accounts.

"I hate to say it this way, but unless we do that, all else is irrelevant," said Barr, on pension reform.

He said that is currently his top priority as an advocate.